Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio


"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Grandview Memorial Park - Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio received an HB 168 Cemetery Grant

Sharing this news story from the "Record-Courier" of Kent, Ohio.:
By Diane Smith, Reporter
Excerpt:
"The once beleaguered Grandview Memorial Park in Ravenna Township got a boost from state officials Thursday, when township trustees got a grant to continue improvements at the cemetery.
The Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing awarded trustees a $1,450 grant. The money will be used to put up directional signs at the cemetery, which trustees reluctantly took over almost two years ago.
Anne Moorhead Petit, superintendent of the division, said the grant program is new. This year, $75,357 worth of grants are being awarded to 65 cemeteries in 34 Ohio counties. The cemeteries are either publicly owned or are not for profit."
This is definitely a happy ending story for Grandview Memorial Park in Ravenna.  
Grandview Memorial Park has 3,385 memorials listed for it on "Find A Grave."
Now, Grandview Memorial Park has a bright future to be properly maintained for many years to come.  
Personally, I can't think of a more deserving cemetery to receive this 2020 Ohio Cemetery Grant.  

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019

Sharing a Link to the "Dayton Daily News" October 24, 2019 feature story about the Dayton Memorial Park being among the first cemeteries in Ohio to receive the HB168 cemetery grant - $5,000

The article includes a photograph of 
Mark Davis, Dayton Memorial Park's General Manager.  He stands next to Anne Petit, Superintendent for the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing at the Ohio Department of Commerce. Mr. Davis is seen explaining the extensive tornado damage the cemetery suffered.
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Scroll down the link to "CEMETERY FORMS":
CEMETERY FORMS
COM 3659 - Burial Permit Fee Report
COM 3660 - Cemetery Complaint Form
COM 3661 - Cemetery Renewal Endowment Care Trust Annual Report
COM 3662 - Cemetery Registration Form
COM 3663 - Persons Authorized to Sell Interment Rights
COM 3665 - Cemetery Change Application
COM 3670 - Cemetery Merchandise&Services Fund Annual Report
COM 3671 - Cemetery Endowment Care Trust Affidavit
COM 3672 - Cemetery Merchandise&Services Fund Affidavit
REPL-18-011 - Cemetery Ceased
Cemetery Grant Application Instructions
REPL-19-0022 - Cemetery Grant Application

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio didn't disappoint despite the lack of surrounding colorful Fall foliage

Sharing a few photos taken at the City of Lorain's Elmwood Cemetery during my most recent trip on October 20, 2019.  Indeed it is a special cemetery to me because my parents, grandparents, and an uncle and aunt are buried at Elmwood Cemetery.  
I had also hoped to share scenes of brilliant reds and golds of this year's Fall foliage in the cemetery's background, but that was not to be. 
All was not lost, though, because the cemetery's well cared for appearance was evident everywhere. Looking down the long rows of headstones I could see that the grass was at an acceptable height. The lack of recent rain, however, had caused some browning but an upcoming rainstorm should remedy that small issue.
So, go out and enjoy the array of Fall colors that are bursting forth at Ohio's cemeteries! 
The multi-hued leaves create a canopy of vibrant solid colors that sadly is too short-lived. The Wintery winds with their drifts of icy white will arrive soon enough -- and stay too long. 
(Above photo)
Find A Grave Memorials for
and 
 
 
 (Above two photos)
Find A Grave memorials for
Albert and Marie (Weber) Limes
 (Above photo)
Find A Grave memorials for
Harry and Virginia (Zagorksy) Limes
(Above photo)
Find A Grave memorials for
Winfield Scott and Essie Lillian (Lombard) Limes

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"DAR Honors Chesterville Patriots" - from the Mount Vernon News - October 14 2019

Sharing a link to an abbreviated internet write-up with short video by the "Mount Vernon News"of this event held on Saturday, October 12, 2019.  It was to dedicate a marker to honor the service and sacrifice of four Revolutionary War veterans buried at the Chester Baptist Cemetery in Morrow County, Ohio.  The cemetery is adjacent to the Chester Baptist Church that celebrated a bicentennial this year. It is the oldest church in Morrow County. 
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It was only one day prior to the ceremonies that professional cemetery conservator Tim Foor of Hallowed Ground Cemetery Preservation, LLC uncovered the original marker for Revolutionary War veteran Private Peter Doty. He proceeded to clean, repair, and reset it in time for the ceremonies. 
(Above photo courtesy of Stacy Foor)
Tim Foor is standing far right.
Per the newspaper article, the other Revolutionary War Patriots recognized were:
Evan A. Holt, Drummer from Pennsylvania
John Kinney, Scout from Pennsylvania
George McCreary, Sergeant from Pennsylvania

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

"Floral Hills Cemetery in Pickaway moving toward foreclosure; state finishes investigation into Ross Co. one"

This latest report, which is an excellent one highlighting the differences in the situations from one cemetery to the other, is about both Floral Hills Memory Gardens locations - in Ross County and Pickaway County from the  "Chillicothe Gazette." If you have been following their long-suffering saga, then I feel you'll find this one offers in-depth research reporting on the issues and history affecting each location.  

     

Sunday, October 13, 2019

ALL CEMETERIES MATTER! Sadly, some in Ohio matter less because of their assigned status by the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission

Ohio's State Legislative Leaders and the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission (OCDRC) have long neglected to adopt an "All Cemeteries Matter"stance to better ensure adequate protection and preservation for ALL of Ohio's cemeteries.  
 
These bodies of authority have excluded thousands of Ohio's cemeteries that are among the Buckeye state's most historic yet vulnerable hallowed grounds. 
Classified as inactive, and therefore, deemed ineligible to be registered with the "OCDRC"- future problems are almost certain to mount for these cemeteries.  They suffer increased loss of identity, diminished importance in the community, and eroded public respect for those pioneers who came before us who were buried in them.  
Ohio's lawmakers purposely left little to no provisions for filing complaints against those responsible for the care of these "old graveyards."  Meanwhile, year after year they fall further into decay and obscurity.

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"The Division does not register cemeteries that are family cemeteries and it doesn’t register cemeteries that have not had an interment during that last 25 years."  
 Family cemetery is defined as “a cemetery containing the human remains of persons, at least three-fourths of whom have a common ancestor or who are the spouse or adopted child of that common ancestor.” 
As we know, many of these cemeteries are hidden away; obscured by bushes, tall weeds and poisonous plants. Some are barely enclosed by rusty bent or broken iron fences.  They would be totally forgotten about if it were not for the few dedicated and caring people who know about them and persistently push to obtain permission, if necessary, to be granted access to visit them.  
After they photograph visible headstones and transcribe inscriptions, they share what they have learned - praying respect will be restored to the cemetery.  

Many of Ohio's burial grounds are viewed as pioneer cemeteries, with veteran burials
reaching back to the American Revolution.
  War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, and WWI veteran markers often dot the landscape in these cemeteries.  Fortunately, some of the gravesites have the medallion flag holders. Local veterans groups place flags in them to honor their service and sacrifices for our freedom.  

 
Unfortunately, rather than being valued as the historic treasures that they are, too many communities have been unable to persuade voters to pass sufficient levies to sustain maintenance levels that are needed to properly preserve and protect them.  
  Residents often take an "us vs. them' attitude and feel the funds are better used for living people. So, stand alone five-year cemetery levies often fail. 
Townships need to offer continuing levies that include cemeteries along with fire, EMS, and police.  
Such a continuing levy would include all cemeteries whether active or not that a township maintains.  
Indeed, a powerfully positive point to consider when promoting passage!    
 
Thus, we are thankful to have the tombstone inscription transcriptions that were taken primarily during the time periods of the 1930s to the early 2000's beginning with the WPA workers creating cemetery plat maps listing known veterans and creating the corresonding registration cards during the decade of the 1930s in the Great Depression; to the Daughters of the American Revolution chapters reading tombstones in the 1950s.  Later, many county chapters of the Ohio Genealogical Society visited area cemeteries and copied gravestone inscriptions and epitaphs.  Afterward, publishing them as chapter projects. 
We are indebted to those concerned and dedicated volunteers and others who also published their listings of known burials.  
Most recently, those who post on free websites such as Find A Grave, BillionGraves, Rootsweb, and OhioGravestones have greatly expanded our ability to at least view a gravestone photo and learn more about the deceased and their lives.  
We thank and recognize all of these volunteers for their efforts preserving through written and published documentation at all of Ohio's cemeteries, 
If you are among this group you are our heroes! Thank you!
(Above photo)
August, 2014
A scene from the work session
at the Old Burying Ground 
in Greenfield, Ohio
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Fast forward to 2017 - 2019 and HB168: 

"To: All House Members"
From: Rep Dick Stein
"RE: Co-Sponsor Request: Cemetery Restoration and Improvement Act"
Date: March 22, 2017

"I will soon be introducing legislation to establish a self-funding cemetery grant program and to codify recommendations brought forth by the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force Report & Recommendation in 2014. This bill is similar to HB 395 introduced last GA by Representative Pelanda.
This bill’s primary purpose is to assure we honor and respect all those interred in over 2,400 not for profit cemeteries across Ohio.  Local government funds have shrunk in recent years putting more pressure on our administrators to find solutions for cemetery repairs and maintenance, as mandated by law. 
This bill provides much needed assistance in securing grants to specifically address our cemetery managers’ responsibilities to honor our deceased.  
It is through initial funding from the Ohio Department of Commerce that we setup an account for $100,000 as seed money to fund these grants for FY18. This seed money comes from existing funds set aside by the $2.50 burial permit fees collected by Commerce. Future replenishment of these funds will be provided by setting aside $1.00 of the $2.50 burial permit fee to continue funding these grants.
This concept is supported by the Ohio Township Association, the Ohio Cemetery Association, the Catholic Conference of Ohio, and Ohio’s Department of Commerce."
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Thus, Ohio House Bill 168 is considered by many to be the most 'sweeping' cemetery law enacted in recent years. It was introduced in 2017 by Rep. Dick Stein, passed in 2018, and fully implemented in 2019.  
However, its provisions of awarding yearly cemetery grant funds, getting receivers in place for active cemeteries that have become orphaned by their owners, and getting those cemeteries re-registered, does not in any way apply to or impact inactive cemeteries, or those deemed to be family cemeteries in the state of Ohio.  
Ohio has numerous municipally owned and maintained inactive cemeteries.  Many who read this blog know that and have visited some of them. 
They matter!
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A REMINDER for Active Registered Cemeteries:
Requests for cemetery grant funds need to be for reasons deemed as "Exceptional" by the OCDRC.:
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"The only non-technical element of this amendment is the addition of the word “exceptional” to 4767.10 Administering the Cemetery Grant. In this context “exceptional” means what is determined to be outside “reasonable maintenance” by Commerce, for that cemetery.  The Dept. of Commerce needs a mechanism to weight/ assign priority to different types of repairs. We did not want to include specific language as to what is and is not to be eligible for Grant monies, as each cemetery and their financial situation differs. If no weighting element were included, cemeteries may request grant money for mowing, trash removal, or other contractual services that should be paid through their Preneed Trust Fund. From our discussions with Township Trustees, they need these Grant monies for those expensive one-off projects that happened, like storms tearing up trees."